New Trend in Online Advertising: Pay Per Click Fraud Reveals Better Solution in Pay Per Action

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Could Pay Per Click (PPC) be on its last lung? Other options are coming into focus as the PPC click fraud industry grows and ROI becomes even more slippery than before. AskPoodle.com and other search engines may just replace Per Per Click with Pay Per Action alternatives.

Could Pay Per Click (PPC) be on its last lung? Other options are coming into focus as the PPC click fraud industry grows and ROI becomes even more slippery than before. AskPoodle.com and other search engines may just replace Per Per Click with Pay Per Action alternatives.

Pay Per Click was more than under-hyped when it came out. It was a last resort way to commercialize a search engine's results that became the mainstream way to advertise quickly without going to the trouble of building the right kind of relevant content and link partners. It worked, if you call less than 50% accuracy and low sales-to-clicks rates “working.” It was simply a way to get sales coming in at a reasonable rate of failure.

With entire overseas teams set up to fraudulently click on competitor ads, companies have more than tiled the current PPC model. And it doesn’t end there. "There's a fatal flaw in the cost-per-click model because a ton of marketing dollars can be depleted in a fraction of a second," states Jessie Stricchiola, president of Alchemist Media, a search engine marketing (SEM) firm based in Los Angeles that specializes in fraud protection. "Technology is continuing to be developed that can exploit this pricing model at incredibly high volumes." PPC is still a manageable way to advertise generally, when you consider the greater sales potential it offers in contrast to click fraud, it just about… evens out?

What would happen if click fraud were relegated to the dust bin and every click were actually a ready-to-buy customer knocking? That would probably mean that most of us would have already switched to Pay Per Call and Pay Per…Chat? Yes, Pay Per Chat! These are the types of solutions that newer engines like AskPoodle.com are planning to offer online advertisers ready to step up their ROI and forget about click fraud troubles.

So, what are the drawbacks of these new forms of online advertising? Well, for starters, you don’t have to actually have a web site for them to work. That’s a drawback, right? Well, okay it’s not a drawback. The problem, however, is that nobody can manipulate the clicks to bolster commissions or drain your budget. Well, that’s not actually a drawback, is it? Hmmm? Is there a drawback? Let’s take this cautiously for a moment. AskPoodle.com plans to offer regular search engine results in addition to local search options. So it's a search engine. They are hiring centers manned by actual people to run the phones and chat sessions. They have supervisors who will make sure they stay on track, read scripts correctly, answer completely, etc. These workers get paid a base wage for the failures and the successes, so the failed calls and chat sessions are recorded as having actually taken place and failed. The successful sales are likewise recorded. Real measurable ROI becomes a reality, and no fraud…how can this be?

And then there is the issue of customer retention. According to LiveAdmins LLC’s 2003 research, 94% to 97% of new web site visitors leave the website within two minutes and completely forget the web site they had visited the very next day. It could be argued that the reason for this is that there is no human interaction and the experience is all too predictable. Human-administered models allow personality and salesmanship to again become the little extra ingredient that actually moves goods and services.

Can anyone tilt this Pay Per Action pinball machine? Other than getting their relatives to buy from them (if you call that a problem), not very likely. So why then are so many advertisers taking so long to jump on board? Because they always take long to switch to a new mode of advertising, which, in turn, is why Pay Per Click is just now hitting it’s prime. In a year, however, we could find that Pay Per Click already in rapid decline. New ambitious search engines sites like AskPoodle.com will be in full swing offering non-PPC-only advertising as of January 1st, 2006. And so will a lot of other search engines, most likely. PPC programs take money to set up. As new engines emerge, they won’t bother with it or else PPC will become the aging field goal kicker that used to be number one and is now just 2nd string. Certainly PPC won’t be the quarterback it is today. The real question here is “When will PPC players be replaced by the better, lower risk Per Per Action players?” With click fraud already such an industry in itself, that time may be soon.

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Luis Pereira
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